Best Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner 2018

Dyson Big Ball Animal 2

The Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 is a great cylinder vacuum for smaller households with limited storage. It's easy to manoeuvre and there's a wealth of tools to tackle every task. With more capacity than cordless vacuums, you won’t be ferrying it back and forth to the bin to empty its contents every two seconds, either.

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Verdict in 10 seconds

  • Pioneering big ball design
  • Has a powerful suction – it's as effective on carpets and upholstery as it is on hard floors
  • Should easily deal with most household vacuuming needs


  • Quick-release tools are simple to attach and remove
  • Cord rolls out as you go so no need to trail a great length of cord behind you
  • Great on all surfaces – hard floors, carpets, rugs
  • Cleans right up to the edge of the floor


  • Even though the cord is long, you do have to take the machine with you to vacuum stairs
  • Feels quite heavy when lifting, but it’s easy to pull along
  • Bagless so there can be dust and debris when emptying

Key features of the Dyson Big Ball Animal 2

  • The tangle-free turbine tool for pet hair uses counter rotating brush heads
  • Self-rights when toppled
  • Rotating wand handle for easier cleaning (this does take some getting used to, but is very effective)
  • Quick-release tools

What’s in the box?

  • Vacuum, pneumatic musclehead floor tool, combination tool, stair tool, quick-release tangle-free turbine tool, turbine head

What are the Dyson Big Ball Animal 2’s specs?

  • Maximum reach 10.4m
  • 6.5m cord length
  • 3.3m hose length
  • 1.5 litre capacity
  • Weight: 7.5kg
  • 30.8cm (H) x 39.7cm (L) x 34.7cm (W)
  • 600W
  • Two-year guarantee

The Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 is ridiculously easy to use and its quick-release tools make cleaning simple. The cylinder vacuum’s rotating wand handle helps when cleaning those pesky hard-to-reach places, and the powerful suction means it’s equally effective on carpets as it is on hard floors – it’s a real all-rounder.

Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 vacuum cleaner

How good is it on carpets?

The floor head gets right up to the edge of any surface – no dirt or debris escapes its reach. Day-to-day, the cylinder vacuum keeps carpets looking clean and fresh and gives them a ‘fluffed-up’ look. In targeted testing, it sucked up spilled cereal, rice and crisps with no problem at all – in one or two sweeps it was gone. Smaller debris was no problem either – toast crumbs, soil and dust were swept away quickly and easily.

How good is it on hard floors?

The Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 works equally well on wood floors, ceramic tiles and lino. Our tester found the cylinder vacuum even reached debris and crumbs that had fallen between the ceramic tiles and the cupboard baseboards in her kitchen. Cereal, spilled washing powder, cocoa and a trail of dried leaves and grass (walked in by the dog) proved no match for the Dyson vacuum.

How effective is it on pet hair?

If you’re a pet owner, you’re probably well aware that not all vacuum cleaners were created equal when it comes to getting rid of fur. We’ve all experienced that sinking feeling when the brush heads jam up and you know you’re going to have to get right in there to remove a mammoth-sized ball of hair.

Dyson’s answer to this is a tangle-free turbine tool which has a canny counter-rotating brush to stop the build-up of pet (and let’s be honest, human) hair. Our tester couldn’t fault the tool after it powered on through picking up hair from her cat, two dogs…and two grown-up children.

The Dyson Animal 2 cleans upholstery quickly and effectively, too. The pneumatic floor tool is great at pulling embedded hair from deep within upholstery and carpet fibres. It even does a fantastic job on pet bedding, a stubborn surface if ever there was one. Our tester said her cat’s bed looked brand new after it came into contact with the vacuum.

How easy is it to vacuum the stairs with?

The vacuum is a little on the heavy side at 7.5kg, which means it can be quite awkward to get up the stairs. It does have a long reach but you’ll need to carry the vacuum halfway up the stairs in order to get to those top steps, balancing it – and yourself – on a stair while you do so. This obviously isn’t ideal.

Once you’ve mastered the circus act, the actual cleaning of the stairs is very good and there are plenty of tools to get into all those nooks and crannies.

How loud is the Dyson Big Ball Animal 2?

This model, at 80db, is 25% quieter than the previous Dyson Ball vacuum, but it is still noisier than some of the other vacuums we tested. That being said, our tester didn’t find the noise level annoying or disruptive.

How easy is it to keep clean?

As with all bagless cleaners, it’s virtually impossible to empty without there being some dust and debris around, but this is one of the better ones and most of the dirt does go straight into the bin.

Our tester found she had to poke around a bit to remove any stubborn bits of dust and pet hair that didn’t want to leave the vacuum. If you’re familiar with bagless cleaners, you’ll know the filter needs to be washed and air-dried once a month, which can be an issue if you have pets (or children) as it means being without a vacuum for one day a month. While we all love an excuse to take a more laissez faire approach, this could be a problem if you need to keep your home dust- or pet hair-free on a daily basis.

Are there any other features?

A big selling point of the Big Ball Animal 2 (and all Dysons for that matter) is its pioneering design. In this case, the big ball design means the vacuum moves along smoothly and easily. It’s worth keeping half an eye on where the ball is because our tester had a couple of mishaps and bashed into corners.

We loved the automatic cord return. It saves you time and makes vacuuming less of a back-breaking exercise. Debatable if you’d call it a feature, but the on/off switch is located on the handle – this is quite rare for cylinders and is much more convenient.

Is the Dyson Big Ball Animal 2 good value for money?

At £299.99, the Animal 2 certainly isn’t cheap. But it’s a really good cylinder, works beautifully, and should easily deal with most households’ vacuuming needs. The additional tools make vacuuming easier and quicker, and when a quick run round the house leaves it looking as though you’ve spent hours, that has to be worth something. On balance, with the time it can potentially save, it’s good value for money.

About Mumsnet Reviews

All Mumsnet product reviews are written by real parents after weeks of research and testing. We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust. Sometimes, we earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. However, we never allow this to influence our coverage. Read our How We Test to find out more.

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  • Best Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner 2018

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